Gov. Kelly’s reopening plan coming Thursday

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly said she will release her plan on how to reopen the state on Thursday.

Her statewide stay-at-home executive order is set to expire by May 4.

But the state is seeing triple digit new coronavirus cases per day and it’s expected to still be high through this week.

“That’s going to be a challenge in how to communicate that to people because it looks like things are getting worse in the case count, but it’s not in reality,” Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department Health and Environment, said.

Norman said that’s due to increased testing. He said the important numbers are the number of hospitalizations and deaths per positive case, both of which are going down.

He also said more people are getting the virus without experiencing symptoms.

“The overall influenza-like illness measures that we already are measuring around the state, because COVID-19 is certainly one of those, it’s dropping like a rock,” Norman said.

If key numbers continue to go in the right direction, the governor doesn’t expect to extend the stay-at-home order.

She said she has been working to develop guidelines for the reopening plan. She has talked with industry leaders, public health officials, and safety net organizations to make sure they’re ready when the time comes.

“We’re working with everyone in the state of Kansas that we possibly can, so that when we put these out, they will have provided us input, but they’ll also know what to anticipate and they can work accordingly,” Kelly said. “There are a lot of people who will be impacted about how we do this lifting of the stay-at-home order, and how we phase recovery and reopening of the economy. If we’re going to do it, we wanted to do it right.”

Kelly has cautioned that this must be a regional process throughout the state when the order is lifted. It will be up to local health departments to make the call on what, if any, restrictions to leave in place.

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